Technology can be a major enabler for firms as well as for authorities and regulators, a key tool to address skills shortages, reduce the administrative burden and contribute towards a compliance-based culture in the Maltese jurisdiction. This was a key message emerging during the Malta Institute of Accountants’ (MIA) annual Digital Conference.
Introducing the event, MIA CEO Maria Cauchi Delia argued that in a world where skills and human resource shortages continue to afflict the financial services industry and beyond, the use of technology and automation can fill in the gaps and allow accountancy and auditing professionals to upskill and focus on more specialised tasks. She highlighted how innovative EU legislation, including CSRD, requires electronic format reporting, putting the onus on authorities and firms to step up the digital transformation process to ensure compliance, simplification and quality.
MIA President Mark Bugeja explained how technology can enhance fiscal morality and public trust while enabling level playing field and the equitable distribution of resources, ultimately contributing to the stability and prosperity of economies and the overall well-being of society.
These views were echoed by the Commissioner for Tax and Customs, Mr Joseph Caruana, who explained how as part of the Malta Tax and Customs Administration (MTCA) strategy, the organisation is investing heavily in its technology infrastructure to build a new risk analysis system which exploits Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. He explained that MTCA is investing in technology to simplify compliance and make it easier to do business in Malta, thus sustaining the well-being of the Maltese-economy.
The MIA Digital Conference, hosted with the support of the MIA’s Digital Committee and Indirect Taxation Committee, placed emphasis on the impact of requirements stemming from VAT in the Digital Age proposal, known as ViDA, with a particular emphasis on digital reporting and e-invoicing and how these impact taxpayers, businesses as well as regulators. This matter was also discussed through the international perspective, with the participation of high-level officials from Poland and Italy also sharing their country’s experience.
Besides competitiveness and growth, representatives from industry and regulators also addressed the issue of how analytics and data governance can be leveraged for optimising Value Added Tax performance. Participating experts showcased how analytics provide insights into financial transactions and market trends, aiding informed decision-making. Simultaneously, robust data governance ensures data accuracy and compliance, reducing errors and enhancing overall VAT management efficiency.
Several speakers encouraged participants to reflect on the developments in the digital world and the accountancy industry, and to identify and plan to act upon the key changes that will impact businesses, particularly because of data-driven processes and compliance by-design. Failure to do so, would have dire financial consequences, and a heftier price to pay than that required to embrace change.